National Australia Bank has appointed a pair of seasoned venture capital investors to run the rule over fintech startups applying for a slice of its recently launched $50 million innovation fund.
Announced in July last year, the fund was established by NAB to access leading ideas and capabilities from around the world through strategic partnerships, alliances and investments in innovative companies.
With a promise to make its first investment in the next month or so, NAB has named Todd Forest, a successful angel investor via Tasman Ventures Fund, as managing director, and Melissa Widner, formerly of Seapoint Ventures in the US and Australia's OneVentures, as NAB Ventures general partner.
Forest, previously the CEO of Clipp Pty Ltd - a mobile payments and data business focused on the hospitality industry - has served as head of MSN Asia Pacific in Singapore, and also worked in executive roles at AOL Time Warner and Nike in the US.
Says Forest: "Banking globally is undergoing a digital transformation and NAB Ventures will help ensure we are able to embrace the right changes to deliver innovative solutions for our customers.”
Widner is a successful entrepreneur who founded 7Software, a Silicon Valley based enterprise software company acquired by Concur. She is also the co-founder of Sydney based, Heads Over Heels, an organisation that supports high growth companies led by women.
NAB has also recently engaged Bill Bartee, founder of Black Bird venture capital, to work with the fund in an investment advisory basis.
Bartee will provide expert advice, both on the management of the fund and specific investment opportunities, says NAB Labs executive general manager Jonathan Davey.
“Todd, Melissa and Bill all have an outstanding track record and will collectively play a vital role in the success of NAB Ventures and building on the innovative culture that will help continue to deliver for our customers,” he says.